Friday, April 26

Sort of a Ramming Speed Friday

A last minute reminder: tomorrow is the meeting in Berea to ascertain interest in a new chapter of KyMBA for the eastern part of the state.

We'll be in the Kentucky Artisan Center conference room beginning at 3:30pm. Hopefully itll be just an hour long, but we have the room for two hours.

The impetus of this meeting and the formation of a new chapter goes like this: Tom told me about a local landowner with hundreds (perhaps thousands) of wooded acres that had invited representative from KyMBA to come in and develop bike trails. Then, for various reasons, the mountain bike people weren't interested.

I saw a window of opportunity that needed to be rammed fully open and dived through. Maybe the fact that it would end up being a pay to ride situation, or that it was a lot of work to develop, or whatever other reasons kept the spark of interest from erupting into a full on raging forest fire. But I saw it differently. This is my home county, and the landowners are a family that my family has had a good relationship with over the years, and which Tom has a good relationship with. And they have hundreds (maybe thousands) of acres they want to open up for mountain biking. And it will be right in our literal backyard until Mandy and I find a more permanent home. Literally.

Yeah, you could say I was frothing at the mouth.

So I talked to Troy, commander-in-chief of Bluegrass KyMBA, and he suggested we start the new chapter. Bluegrass is focused on maintaining Capitol View Park (CVP) in Frankfort, Veterans (VP), and Skullbuster (SKB) in Scott County along with developing new areas in central Kentucky. They're all booked up.

A new chapter would free them up to focus their energy regionally while giving an energy stream to divert into the Daniel Boone National Forest and the rest of Eastern Kentucky.

I'm not saying this is Troy's idea, or my baby, necessarily, because other people have expressed to me that this has been needed and wanted for some time. I just happened to be the catalyst that has gotten the bike rolling. We need better regional advocacy? Okay, then let's do it! A private landowner is inviting mountain bikers to come play? Lets not let that opportunity pass!

While I'm acting as a catalyst, I just hope I don't get obliterated in the blast when this thing goes nova.

The new chapter may have to have a minimal role in the development of this new bike park because of the for-profit nature of the venture, but that doesn't mean it can't exist, and that there can't be some mutual benefit.

And even though the bike park may be a separate endeavor, that doesn't mean there isn't a huge need for mountain biking advocacy in Eastern Kentucky. We're starting to get some momentum on trails being built and plans are popping up all over for more. This is good for a state that needs to scale back on destructive resource extraction and focus on tourism and preservation.

I'm hoping to get to get in there (the blank canvas of the new bike park) and do some exploring ASAP. There are some roads and offroad trails already there. What both sides of the table want are quality mountain bike trails. We're going to make this huge!

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